Verse V: Goddess of Fortune

Reid looked up at the mountain looming in front of him. Mount Iyla. The top of this great mountain held riches that he’d only dreamed of and never thought possible. He didn’t know if the tales about Mount Iyla were true but he had to try. His family could use the riches stored at the top of this mountain. Reid started climbing. It was an easy and quicker climb then he would have imagined. There were footholds and handholds dug into the side of it. When he pulled himself up onto the flat plateau at the top and stood, he froze at the sight before him. The stories had not done this place justice. Reid moved into the middle of the flat, smooth area, stepping over piles of jewels, gold, silver and everything imaginable. There was a cleared space in the middle of the treasure and Reid stood there gawking at it all. He didn’t even know where to start.

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“Human,” a soft, lilting voice said from behind, causing him to turn quickly.

He stared at the tall, beautiful woman who stood at the edge of the ledge that would lead him back down to the ground below. Reid didn’t think she was a human woman as he stared at her smooth and unblemished teal skin, dark brown eyes, and glossy, shoulder length brunette hair. She wore a brown leather cloth around her waist and golden, spiral garments covered her areolas and nothing else. Gold, decorative bangles adorned her upper arm and forearm. Reid’s eyes ran down her strong, lean body and he wondered if he should fear for his life especially since she held a wicked weapon in her left hand. A snowy white owl with eyes the same color as the woman herself hovered by her side. A pendent hung around its neck, swaying as it flapped its wings to stay afloat. Reid watched as it finally settled on a high ledge to his left.

“Why have you come to Mount Iyla and climbed to my lair?” she asked, her melodic voice making him forget the weapon she held and her strange bird.

“I came for all of this,” Reid answered truthfully. “My family is struggling and just one piece of what you have would help us.”

The woman— or should he say goddess? —studied him for a long time. He tried not to fidget under her intense scrutiny.

“Very well,” she finally stated. “I will allow you to take one thing of your choosing. I do not mind what it is you decide on. It can be as big or small as you want it to be. It can be gold, a diamond, a pearl or whatever you desire. But it must only be one piece, human.”
Reid did not understand why she was confining him to only taking one of her treasures. This mountaintop was filled with every type of jewel and gold and silver imaginable. She did not need all of this and she should have offered him more than one piece. Reid turned away from her and scanned the riches in front of him. He walked to a pile directly in his line of sight and picked up a chunk of gold the size of his fist. An emerald that would fit in the palm of his hand rested right beside it and he could not resist. He picked it up when he picked up the gold and slipped it into his pocket. He turned back to the goddess who was watching him with a cool expression on her beautiful face. She’s moved away from the edge so that he can make his way back down the to the ground.

She stood by her owl and when he walked past her, she attacked him. She slammed him onto the ground hard, the treasure dug painfully under his back as she loomed over him, seeming larger than when she stood at the edge of the plateau. He got a closer look at the odd-looking dagger in her hand that came to a dangerous point that would allow her to stab it into his skull without any resistance. She held it near his eye and held him down. The decorative base glowed green as the sun hit the emerald at the right angle. The owl fluttered around their heads, its eyes glowing blue and the pendant swinging wildly around its neck.

“I was willing to let you take a piece of my riches when that is not something I do very often,” she said, still in her soft, lilting voice. “You betrayed my generosity with your greed. All you humans are the same.”

Her eyes started glowing a molten golden color. He started to panic as his right foot melted away. No. His body was dissolving into gold, adding to the pile on the mountaintop. He watched in horror as the lower half of his body flowed onto the pile of gold by the edge that could lead him back down and away from this nightmare.

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Reid jerked awake, sitting up in bed. The dark room offered no comfort as he touched his legs, making sure they were still there. It took far too long for his breathing and frantic heart to return to normal. It was just a dream, he kept chanting to himself. He decided that he needed a drink and there was no way he was going back to sleep. He climbed out of bed and after a trip to the bathroom, made his way to his study. The Old God’s Text sat on his desk. After making himself a scotch with ice he walked over to the text and opened it to a random passage. He skimmed the page he’d turned to and his blood turned cold.

“Traveler,” Iyla, the Goddess of Fortune, said in a soft, lilting voice.

Iyla’s teal skin was smooth and unblemished, her dark brown eyes flashed, and her glossy shoulder-length hair swayed gently in the breeze. She wore a brown leather cloth around her waist and golden, spiral garments covered her areolas and nothing else. Gold, decorative bangles adorned her upper arm and forearm. The human looked fearful as he gazed at the beauty in front of him.

“Why have you come to Mount Iyla and climbed to my lair?”

The glass of scotch slipped from his fingers, hitting the edge of the glass, before resting on the plush carpet. The scotch soaked into the light material but Reid did not pay any attention to it. He’d dreamed about something he’d never read before. He’d dreamed exact words that a goddess and some random man had said to one another. He finished the short passage and his world seemed to be dissolving like his limbs had in his dream.

Art by: Chase Henson

Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell

teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com

verse iv: Temple of air

Reid let out a long breath and headed into the conference room where he was meeting the university board members. All of them were present and already seated around the table. There was one open chair for him which he quickly took. He realized they’d been waiting for him to arrive before starting. He was not starting on the right foot. He waited for someone to speak.

“Please proceed, Dr. Hollis,” Thurston demanded. “Tell us what happened on the dig.”

Reid began telling them everything that happened on the dig from when he and his team of students arrived and what exactly was found on the dig. The board members asked many questions for what seemed like hours and Reid answered them the best he could. They seemed especially interested in the book and its contents. Reid seemed to be the only one who could translate the text so they needed him but they were impatient and there seemed to be something specific that they were after. And it was proven by Thurston’s next statement.

“We are sending you to another dig site.”

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Vlassis looked around at the humans gathered around him outside the protective wards around the Temple of Air. He’d been the one to explain to them the importance of this temple. How it was the source of all the air in the gods’ world and without it they would all perish. The humans were ready to rid themselves of these gods who cruelly ruled their realm. Vlassis —the son of the goddess, Cerise and a human male—was more than willing to help. His own mother had cast him aside and did not want him in the gods world because he was half-human. She’d used his father—seduced him and killed him once she was done with him. Vlassis was left to be raised by humans who’d found him by the portal between the worlds. They hated the gods and goddesses which they passed on to him. Vlassis had never even met Cerise, the Goddess of War and Lust but he hated her.

Vlassis focused his energy and harnessed his ability. After taken in a deep breath and letting it out slowly, he teleported through the protective wards around the temple. There was a great white flash that knocked him onto his back and his world went black. Some time later, Vlassis regained consciousness. He felt odd and bruised. He lifted onto his forearms and his face paled at what he saw around him. All twenty of the humans who’d come with him lay dead outside of the wards. He tried to teleport back to the other side but nothing happened. He tried again and again, knowing he needed to get out of there before the gods showed up to see what had happened. Vlassis couldn’t use his power and he was stuck inside the wards. He looked back at the Temple of Air to see it still standing proudly behind him, unmarred by the explosion. He fell back onto his back, feeling defeated and unsure of what to do next.

-Entry from The Old God’s Text

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“You are sending me on another dig?” Reid asked to clarify what he’d just heard.

There were nods from everyone around the room.

“Is there something specific that I should be looking for this time?”

“No. We just want you to take your team and see what it is you can find,” Thurston said. “You are free to go.”

Reid knew he wasn’t going to get any more information from them about what he should be searching for. He left the conference room, stopping at the receptionist’s desk for his travel documents and the information about the dig site. He needed to go home and pack and let his students know they were needed again. Reid got an uneasy feeling about all of this but he did not know why so he was going to do what he was told until he found out.

Art by: Chase Henson

Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell

teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com


Verse III: Priestess of Shadow

After Thurston and the other two board members left with a thinly veiled threat that he must attend the meeting in the morning, Reid decided to take a break from reading the ancient text. He was lucky Thurston hadn’t taken the book with him once he’d taken his leave. Something about the whole exchange left Reid feeling uneasy and he wondered what other purposes did the university have to seek out the text. From the board members eagerness and the glint in all of their eyes when they saw the book, Reid realized this is what they had been searching for all along. But why hadn’t they told him? It was never specified what they were after when he was sent to a site so he never knew what to look for. Reid shook his head in exasperation. University politics were not his game and he would not be sucked into them.

He went back to his office to grab a notebook and pencils. He needed to clear his head and prepare himself for whatever awaited him when he went to the university tomorrow. Reid took his supplies out onto his patio, sinking down into one of the chairs. The rain had just started, adding a musical background to his task. The weather was cool and even though sprays off the water hit his bare legs, he did not mind it much. Reid opened his notebook and found a blank sheet. He hovered his pencil over the paper, looking out at the intensifying storm in front of him before finally pressing his pencil to the paper and marring the pristine white surface with a soft black line.

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The man fell to his knees holding up the staff he was told would defeat the evil being who’d caused so much chaos and destruction among his people. She never even opened her eyes or lost the serene look on her face as the man raged at her.

 

Chaaya knew very well the crimes the human man accused her of. The ones that all humans wanted to blame on her. She was sure that whatever went wrong in the human realm was blamed on her or some other god who they had just happened to learn the name or existence of. Chaaya’s thoughts drifted to her time in the human realm.

 

Chaaya had her own reasons for agreeing to help Xanthe and her sisters build a portal into the human realm. She’d been interested in that realm for as long as she can remember and wanted to be able to interact with humans and learn more about them. Her ability to blend into the shadows allowed her to hear things she probably wasn’t supposed to hear and it made everyone want her as an ally and never as an enemy. As soon as she was able to use the portal to step into the human realm, she did so without a backwards glance at the sisters. She traveled far away from the portal set near an ocean to a place with many humans. She kept herself cloaked in shadows as she came upon an arguing couple. As soon as she was close to them, she thought they should stop arguing and just talk civilly to one another. She was surprised when that was exactly what they did. Chaaya moved on, walking deeper into the town. She walked into a building and found many people there. Two people—women—where speaking animatedly to one another with broad smiles on their faces and wild hand gestures between them. This time she decided to test her abilities and effects on humans again. She projected the thought that the two women were angry with one another. The women immediately turned on one another and started arguing so loudly and aggressively that others had to break them up.

 

Chaaya was drawn out of her musings by the man still screaming at her. She knew the havoc she wrecked with her abilities but the human realm was already in tatters and in chaos long before she showed up. The reason for the sisters needing a portal into their realm was to because they were destroying the planet and killing one another. She did not help but she also was not the cause of all that was wrong with his realm. Chaaya finally opened her eyes and stared down at the insignificant worm in front of her. He was only trying to protect his world and probably a family and friends but he was in her realm, threatening her. She had to wonder how he even gained access through the portal and should look into the sisters. Chaaya’s gaze fixed on the man. She would not tolerate this kind insolence. She was a god and he was nothing. Her purple skin seemed to glow in the unearthly smoke and lights of this realm as she raised her hand and a single wisp of shadow pierced the man’s heart like a dagger.

-Entry from The Old God’s Text

 

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Reid jolted awake, the clap of thunder reverberating through him. He took in his surroundings. He was outside. He’d fallen asleep outside. He took in a deep breath and slowly released it. His eyes fell on the sketchbook on his lap. The Priestess of Shadow, Chaaya, stared back up at him.

He wasn’t sure if his rendition was anything like what the priestess had actually looked like but for some reason she was on his mind when he’d started even though he hadn’t consciously decided to draw her. Reid shook his head, looking around him and seeing that the rain had finally let up but it was pitch dark outside. His stomach growled reminding him he needed something to eat and he needed to try to get some rest before having to go to the meeting in the morning. After taking one last look at the sketch of Chaaya, Reid closed the sketch book and tucked it under his arm as he stood and walked inside his dark home.

 

Art by: Chase Henson

Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell

teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com

Verse II: Divine Ingress

 

 

Reid—the Archaeologist—pulled out his rare find and placed it gently on his desk in his office. He’d only just returned but still had not given a report to his superiors. He would do that as soon as he was finished translating the text. Today he would continue reading through the book and trying to learn and discover all he could about the old Gods. He flipped through the pages carefully so as to not rip any of them. He stopped when he came to one titled “Divine Ingress.”

 

"Once again the three sisters had become bored and tired of watching their human creations. They desired to interact with them and provide them guidance. The sisters felt that the humans were not treating their creation with the proper respect and they needed to be in the human realm to help them with treating their world right. The sisters figured that they needed a portal and a way to break through the shadows that currently separated their world from the human realm. The three of them pondered over the idea for years. One day Xanthe—the yellow sister—returned from an extended trip to a place the other two were unaware of and proclaimed that she had found the solution to their problem. The Priestess of Shadows had agreed to help them for free reign to use the portal in exchanged. The sisters quickly agreed to Chaaya’s terms and the arduous task of building a portal began. Chaaya opened the shadows so they could step through. Azora, Cerise, and Xanthe labored for many years creating a doorway between their realm and the human realm. They were able to find a thick, dark wood that they shaped into the portal and infused with their combined powers and the priestess shadow’s as well so that it would not rot or be affected by the elements. They created their portal in the ocean and were able to control the waters to create a pathway to the door. Everlasting bowls of fire were set along the path to provide light for wayward—and welcomed—travelers. The skull of a mythical animal with golden horns hung over the portal, blessing it. Once they were done, they were ready to roam the human realm and Chaaya followed, doing whatever she wanted to do."

 

Reid sat back. Now he knew firsthand how the old Gods had gotten into the human realm and caused so much havoc. He wondered what would have happened if they had never found a way in. How different would things have been. The doorbell chimed before there was a loud knock on the front door. Reid sighed but lifted himself out of his chair and made his way to the front doors. He didn’t bother asking who it was or looking through the peephole before pulling it open.

“Reid,” Thurston Alastair, the head of his department, said.

“Thurston,” Reid replied.

Reid noticed that two members of the board were with Thurston as he stepped aside to let them in. He led them from the front entryway directly into the spacious living room with multiple sliding doors and overhead windows which let in plenty of light not that there was any to let in today. It was a cloudy and gray day that promised to provide plenty of rain to stave off the possible drought. Reid worked on turning on the lights as his guests made themselves comfortable. He asked if they wanted any refreshments but they declined. Reid sat in a chair that faced away from the windows.

“Why didn’t you come to the university today, Reid?” Thurston asked.

“I was busy with my discovery and translating it,” Reid answered.

“I specifically asked you to be in the meeting this morning, Reid. It is important that you allow us all to know what you’ve found.”

Reid wondered why it was that important. Once he’d gone through the book and made his translations, it would be more valuable to them. He would rather work than sit in a stuffy meeting where nothing of consequence would be said. Reid knew better than to say this however.

“Of course, Thurston. I do apologize for this oversight on my part. I will be sure to attend any meeting that is requested of me.”

That seemed to mollify the head of the department as he relaxed into his chair that was directly across from Reid. Thurston asked to see the book and the other two people—a man in his early sixties and a young woman who looked to be in her mid-twenties—nodded in agreement. Reid complied to their request and stood to retrieve the book, ignoring the sense of apprehension that washed over him.

 

Art by: Chase Henson

Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell

teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com

 

Verse I: Sisters of Creation

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The archaeologist stood back as a few of his students worked to unearth what looked like a dust covered box. He'd been tasked with—and provided funds—finding evidence that the old Gods had truly walked among men at one time. There have been small things found but they could be explained away. The archaeologist was determined to find something concrete and give definitive evidence. He'd been working on this for a long time; his superiors were losing patience with him after so many years of failures. This was his last chance and he’d only gotten it because one of his students had rich parents who were on the board and had been able to convince the others to move forward with funding.

"Professor Hollis," a female student said, pulling him from his musings.

He focused on the group of five students and saw that they had been able to get the box free. He motioned for them to bring it up to where he was standing. He moved away to the tent that'd been set up at the dig site and would provide some reprieve from the sun. Two of his students carefully carried the three-foot-long box to a table under the tent. The archaeologist blew dust from the top and wiped away the rest, as best as he could, with his hand. He saw that the lid was decorative with creatures he's only seen in books of fairy tales. His heart kicked up in his chest and his hand shook imperceptibly as he reached for the latch. He didn't know what to expect or what he'd find.

A cloth-bound bundle lay within the box with some other objects strewn about. Some long decayed and unrecognizable. The archeologist lifted the bundle delicately out of the box. One of his students moved it out of his way as he sat the bundle down on the scarred wooden table. His students seemed to be holding their breaths as he carefully removed the old, brown cloth from around the bundle revealing a leather-bound book. The archeologist opened it and saw that it was written in an old language he was well-versed in. He needed to get this book back to his tent and start translating it immediately. Without acknowledging his students, he hurried away. They were used to eccentricities and shrugged to themselves.

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The archeologist bent over the book, reveling over a story he was reading about three ancient sisters who seemed to have created life itself according to the pages in front of him.

 

Three sisters sat manipulating the forces they could control. The red god swirled anger, death, and jealousy together creating something unrecognizable. The yellow god weaved intelligence, wisdom, and progress in and out of each other and the blue god sat with beauty, life, and love blended together in the palm of her hands. It is presumed a conversation was had before the blue god suggested that they create something that would provide them entertainment when they were bored. Xanthe, the yellow sister, grabbed a nearby streaking comet and used it to sew the thread of knowledge into it before passing it to Cerise who added lust, death, and war. Cerise passed their combined forces to Azora, the most powerful of the three, who took what they’d shaped to bring it all together by adding life and beauty. The deafening boom and shaking did not even make the sisters flinch as the foundation of the cosmos cracked and exploded in all directions, leaving only glowing dust that became known as the sun and stars and a single blue gem that became known as earth. The sisters looked at their creation in awe, none of them speaking.

 

The archeologist sat back and took off his glasses. He rubbed his eyes before pinching the bridge of his nose. Finally, he remembered to look at the small clock that sat on the table by his bedside and saw that it was after four in the morning. Although he did not want to, he knew he needed to get some sleep and tackle some more of the translation tomorrow. He had a feeling this was what his superiors had been searching for; this book could hold the answers they all sought.

 

Art by: Chase Henson
Story written by: Teralyn Mitchell
teralynmitchellauthor@gmail.com